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Garden State Coalition of Schools
Elisabeth Ginsburg, Executive Director
160 West State Street
Trenton, New Jersey 08608

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8-9-12 GSCS Special Education Testimony submitted for Senate Education hearing today

Garden State Coalition of Schools/GSCS

160 W State Street

Trenton, NJ 08608

Special Education Funding: Testimony submitted to Senate Education Committee 8-9-12

GSCS appreciates Senator Teresa Ruiz’ and the Senate Education Committee’s efforts to move this necessary conversation ahead. Thank you for providing this important opportunity.

The Garden State Coalition of Schools (GSCS) has been following special education funding for a number of years.  GSCS has stated issues with the way categorical special education aid was reduced and redistributed under SFRA and with how special education aid actually goes against the touted grain of the SFRA and does not follow the child, but rather is calculated on a census-based student average. These two issues alone are very problematic.

Today, however, we will bring to your attention a particular concern that has emerged steadily over time:  state and federal support do not begin the match the ever-rising costs of providing required programs for our most vulnerable children, special education students.

Local property taxes have had to grow steadily to meet this increasing gap of state and federal support. Correspondingly, over time the tension between special education funding needs and regular education needs has also grown.  The statewide percentage of growth in special education instructional costs to districts, compared to instructional costs for regular education, eventually has cut into regular education in a clearly demonstrable way - a 4% loss from regular instructional spending to a 4% increase in special education instructional spending from ’03-’04 to ’10-’11.   The attached charts make that clear (Chart 1 Statewide - All Regular Districts; Chart 2 - GSCS Districts).

It is time to deal with the student support needs in both regular education programs, as well as special education programs, so that communities, taxpayers, parents and most importantly, students, are not pitted against one another.

The Garden State Coalition has done extensive work and analysis on special education issues and looks forward to contributing much more to this conversation as it continues to evolve.


Garden State Coalition of Schools
160 W. State Street, Trenton New Jersey 08608
609-394-2828



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